Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Geography of Light
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Rock
The Geography of Light, the latest Philo recording from folk-roots artist Carrie Newcomer, is a resonant soundtrack for a world that is both sacred and ordinary. Newcomer sings about serious subjects with clarity and elega... more »
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The Geography of Light, the latest Philo recording from folk-roots artist Carrie Newcomer, is a resonant soundtrack for a world that is both sacred and ordinary. Newcomer sings about serious subjects with clarity and elegance, and a healthy measure of good humor and self-awareness, with a voice the Austin Statesman has called "as rich as Godiva chocolate." Her music resonates with Appalachian and classical influences, and The Geography of Light combines piano, violin, mandolin, cello, bass, percussion, and harmony vocal textures with Newcomer's adept guitar work and powerful but intimate vocals. The result is an exceptional album that captures the light and shadow in all of our lives.
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Carrie's Best Yet!
Mark D. Prouse | Riverdale (Bronx), NY | 02/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Drenched in guitars and strings, and in a minor key, "There Is A Tree" hooked me the minute Carrie began to sing, and from there the album never lost my interest. Thoughtful, unusual songs yet sound familiar, and upon a second listen, feel like old friends. The instrumentation, although relatively spare, sounds full and rich, complimenting Newcomer's lovely, alto voice perfectly, without ever stealing the spotlight. A few tracks have gentle, sometimes driving rhythms, and there are subtle yet surprising sounds around every bend, so there's enough variety to keep THE GEOGRAPHY OF LIGHT from becoming too somber. In fact the title and the cover art are quite apt, as the general mood of this wonderful CD does remind me of one of those days when half the sky is dark with a passing storm, yet clear enough in spaces to let shafts of golden sunlight through.
A couple of side notes: not only has Carrie written perhaps the only song ever sung about geodes, but she then ends this elegant album on an upbeat note with "Don't Push Send," a highly amusing ditty about the dangers of writing and sending letters in cyber-space. Presumably, she calls this a "bonus track" because it's so different from the rest of the album, but it works, and I've quickly decided that it's not a throwaway; it belongs here...
I've been listening to Carrie Newcomer's songs for many years, and have most of her albums on CD. But it wasn't until 2000's THE AGE OF POSSIBILITY that I thought Carrie had finally done a truly solid album. In 2002 and 2005, respectively, she released two more fine CD's, GATHERING OF SPIRITS and REGULARS AND REFUGEES. The latter included a single from the previous release, a BEST OF collection, "Betty's Diner" which had been inspired by her own short story. The subsequent album was all about the people she imagined as customers of said diner. The conceit worked well, and I could hardly wait to hear what Newcomer would come up with next. It would be a two-year wait, but it was worth it. I believe Carrie Newcomer has topped herself and turned out her best album yet. Not a false step here; this is a woman who has hit her stride. She has always written compelling lyrics, but this time out, the the melodies, music and arrangements rise to their level in just about every instance. If you like thoughtful, mature songs that are about something, and your taste runs toward the melodic, I can recommend this CD without reservation."
An elegant exploration of life as seen from the light
Michael Dalton | Eureka, CA United States | 02/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Geography of Light by Carrie Newcomer shows how elegant modern folk music can be. Storytelling, often associated with the genre, makes for a more literary style, but I like the fact that Newcomer doesn't try to be clever in her songwriting or music. Her simplicity is beautiful.
That's not to say that this is lacking in depth. On the contrary, this Quaker associates with theologians and authors like Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren and Phillip Gulley. The latter has written a glowing tribute to Newcomer's artistry in the CD booklet. If any of these men were songwriters, they might write songs like the ones found here.
"Geodes" is a prime example. Geodes are mysterious rocks that are plentiful around Newcomer's home in Southern Indiana. Though common on the outside with brown and gray exteriors, they contain a core of sparkling quartz crystals. Newcomer writes in the liner notes, "They remind me to look deeper, because often within what may appear quite ordinary is a core of beauty and mystery." This is just one of many songs that Newcomer fills with thought that is rich and dense. Amazingly, it never sounds cluttered.
The thought behind "Throw Me a Line" is loosely drawn from chapter six of the gospel of Matthew where Jesus speaks of the futility of anxious thought. It includes the lovely line: "There's a still quiet voice / It sounds a little like mine / Saying you're right where you should be / It's just gonna take time." What a balm of peace for an anxious heart! The song is a beautiful plea for refuge in rapidly changing times.
It echoes a note of hope that is heard throughout. Even on a song like "A Mean Kind of Justice," which casts a shadow, there is a ray of light: "There's a goodness on this earth, that will not die, will not die / It bears all, it's seen it all, and still it survives / And I know we have failed, but I've seen that we can fly."
You can even hear the optimism in the music on "Leaves Don't Drop (They Just Let Go)." Newcomer's lilting voice mixes with piano notes that dance for joy.
As in the other songs, this is an exploration of life from the perspective of someone standing in the light. Newcomer avoids being trite, which is what makes this so appealing.
She admits that the music is sparser than previous efforts. The space between the notes provides breathing room for acoustic instruments that grab the spotlight. The percussion is light, and the production is clean and crisp.
Though I had not known of her before, this is Carrie Newcomer's eleventh recording for Rounder Records. Listening to her is like finding sparkling crystals in ordinary-looking stones. She makes it seem like the winds of heaven are blowing through the stuff of earth.
A Briiliant Work of Art
William Dahl | Redmond, OR | 03/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Carrie Newcomer - The Geography of Light - Copyright © 2008 Rounder Records - Produced by Carrie Newcomer and David Weber. Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York, NY.
Brilliant! Make this work of art a part of your life TODAY. This collection of musical poetry will enchant you as you travel with Carrie exploring the theme of shadow and light in our lives. You will be drawn into reflecting upon the lyrics which are so graciously balanced with Carrie's vocals and the incredible instrumental rhythms.
As Rolling Stone wrote, "Newcomer asks all the right questions and refuses to settle for easy answers." An incredible social and spiritual commentary is included within the lyrics of this array of contemplative and catchy folksy tunes. Newcomer's masterful acoustic guitar is blended with the outstanding talents of Gary Walters on piano, Chris Wagoner on violin, mandolin, dobro and ukulele, Mary Gaines on cello, Jeff Hedback on bass, Jim Brock on percussion, Keith Skooglund on guitar and Krista Detor on background vocals.
This CD is a delightful journey, guided by a master story teller, Carrie Newcomer. It's refreshing and somehow comforting to hear someone tastefully share the fact that there's someone other than me who is perplexed by certain dimensions of everyday life. Carrie brings this dimension of living to life in The Geography of Light.
Putting her money where her lyrics are, Carrie is donating 10% of the proceeds of the sale of this CD to to The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). AFSC's mission is to carry out service, development, social justice, and peace programs across the globe. Founded by Quakers in 1917 to provide conscientious objectors with an opportunity to aid civilian war victims, AFSC's work attracts the support and partnership of broad and diverse groups of people of many races, religions, and cultures.
Carrie captures the essence of the mysterious journey we're all on - life - This is a musical meditation with a distinctly gifted treatment and commentary on where my feet hit the sidewalk every day. This collection will make you skip, dance, contemplate, cry and laugh. I loved it. Buy it!
The Porpoise Diving Life"